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500 Best-Loved Song Lyrics (Dover Books on Music) Paperback – July 16, 1997


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500 Best-Loved Song Lyrics (Dover Books on Music) + Lyrics: Complete Lyrics for Over 1001 Songs from Yesterday's Favorites + The Lyric Book: Complete Lyrics for Over 1000 Songs from Tin Pan Alley to Today
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"What are the words to that song?" is a common question, and trying hopelessly to remember a nagging, half-finished phrase can sometimes be enough to drive a person over the edge. It's a situation that 500 Best-Loved Song Lyrics, collected and edited by Ronald Herder, attempts to rectify. From "The Aba Daba Honeymoon" (by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan, 1914) to "Zum Gali Gali" (Israeli work song), it covers scads of folk songs, hymns, and old-time show tunes. In the case of songs with multiple versions, Herder has chosen, as he puts it in his introduction, "the text that is most memorable, that captures the spirit of the original song the way we remembered it, that is truly 'best-loved.'" However, if the lyrics you're trying to remember are from a tune along the lines of "Proud Mary" or the theme song from the Brady Bunch, you're out of luck: in keeping with Dover Publications' standard practice, all of the included words are out of copyright, and that means they must be over 50 years old. But for Christmas carols, patriotic songs (you'll find all four verses of "The Star-Spangled Banner"), folk music, and the kind of old-time popular songs that accompany vintage cartoons from Disney and Warner Bros., this is a very useful little collection. The index is in the front, and all the songs are arranged alphabetically. One caveat: although several songs in foreign languages are provided, translations are not. (So what does "Zum Gali Gali" mean, anyway? You'll have to seek the answer elsewhere.) --Sarah Bryan Miller
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Music
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048629725X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486297255
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Joseph L Burke on March 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is rare to be able to find the lyrics to songs of the past; particularly if you are looking for songs by Berlin, Gershwin, Von Tilzer, Cohan, and so many of the song-writing giants of a bygone era. Most of the songs in this collection are pop standards, spirituals, folk songs, ragtime, and what-you-will. They are here with both their verses and chorus's. What a joy! What a blast from the past! And the price is miniscule compared to the value. I would've paid the price of the book for the lyric to just one or two of the songs in this book. In most cases each song has its publishing date with the author(s) name alongside the title. I was surprised that so many of the songs I've loved were first published so long ago. Treat yourself to a volume you will treasure. Sit down at the old keyboard and sing out!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Erich E. Geary on April 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
500 Songs sounds like a lot. It is fun to go through the book and see how many songs you know. I don't know who decided these were the top 500, but they did a good job. It is a book of lyrics only. I wish it had included the sheet music, musical notation. Overall I feel I got my monies worth,. I drag it out every now and then and just sing out load, even if it bothers the cat.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Do you ever find yourself singing an old familiar song and replacing most of the words with la-la-la? Do you just get started belting out an old favorite and you come to the end of the first verse too soon? Do you want to know the words to a song, but don't care about the music? This book is the answer. I can't say that it contains every song you will look for, but I can tell you that when I looked through it, it was like opening a long lost treasure. Many of the songs I had completely forgotten were there with all the verses. What a joy! I will sing all night!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Bayley on October 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is amazingly comprehensive in the types of songs it presents. It includes hymns, Chistmas carols, spirituals, folk songs,national anthems (British, Canadian and American) and even nursery rhymes. The folk songs are mainly American, but Welsh, Scottish, Irish, French, Mexican and those of other nationalities are included as well. The author has done an excellent job.

Although the coverage is very good, it omits such well-known songs as Mocking Bird Hill and Beautiful, beautiful brown eyes. Let's hope that a later edition will rectify such omissions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Herman on June 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Someone has to be able to sing the lyrics to the song at our get togethers, so I looked for a book with just the lyrics. Everyone seems to remember the tune, but not the lyrics. This book filled the bill!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By No-One-In-Particular on December 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
First the pluses: This is a quick guide to many public domain songs and includes the authors and very frequently the year of publication. I am very glad to add it to my library.
Now, the minuses: Over 100 of the 500 songs are obscure to very obscure and certainly do not deserve the title of "best loved". For example, I do not know of a song called "Annabel Lee", although it is a very famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe. It could certainly be in a book of 500 best loved American poems, but not in a book of best loved songs. Also, I did find a 1905 recording of "The Belle of Avenue A" by Arthur Collins, but it must be classified as a very obscure song and hardly a "best loved" song. Perhaps a more accurate title for this book would be "The 350 Best Loved Song Lyrics plus 150 filler songs to achieve a nice round 500 Total". Again, this book is well worth the money, but doesn't truly live up to its title.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Research indicates that singing reduces stress and blood pressure by promoting relaxation and deep breathing--as well as providing enjoyment. You don't have to be the winner of "The Voice" to sing to your heart's content--all you need is "500 Best-Loved Song Lyrics" for delight and entertainment. It's filled with traditional folk songs, ballads, patriotic songs, hymns, spirituals, children's songs, broadway and popular songs. I've spent delightful evenings alone and with friends & family singing these best-loved songs--all ages singing together.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I know the songs and the tunes; they jump into me and in one glance I am mentally singing with the happy tune coming from my heart. WOW ! I am glad. Page after page of happiness. At last I have all the words. The songs are rather crammed in to be contained. But there is no extraneous detail. All in all, my Kindle has gained value, at what I now consider a " small " investment.
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